An Epic is a long narrative in verse on a great and serious subject related in an elevated style. An epic tells a generally well-known story and is centered around a heroine or semi-divine figure whose actions depend on the faith or a tribe, a nation are a human race.
types of epics
Historically, there have been two types of epics the primitive a big for the epic of growth, and epic of art all literary epic.
The main traits of an epic are the following:
- The subject matter of an epic is heroine ok or mythical kind full stop the hero is a figure of national or even cosmic importance as an Achilles in Homer’s Iliad, Aeneas in Virgil’s Aenid, Adam or Christ in Milton Paradise Lost and Rama in Ramayana.
- The setting of an epic is vast and comprises several worlds. In Odyssey, the whole known word is the scene of action of Ulysses. In Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Divine comedy, Earth, heaven, and hell are the scenes of action. In paradise lost also the scene of action has cosmic dimensions embracing Earth, heaven, and hell.
- The action in an epic involves superhuman deeds such as the deeds of Achilles or the journey of Ulysses. Paradise Lost presents The War and heaven, Satan’s journey through chaos, and his audacious attempts to outwit God by corrupting mankind. The Ramayana presents several wars and the prolonged wanderings of the hero.
- The action of an epic is often controlled by supernatural agents. Gods and Goddesses mingle with the humans and fight on both sides. In Homer, the Olympian gods participate in all activities and Paradise Lost devils, Angels, and God himself are involved.
- The Epic contains several thrilling episodes like battles, duals, wanderings, ordeals, and the like.
- In most Epics, there is a moral purpose. The hero represents a cause and the victory of good over evil is ensured. Sometimes characters themselves are personifications of good or evil.
- In the narration of an epic, certain conventions are followed. It is narrated in an ornate, ceremonial, and grand style that is deliberately distanced from ordinary speech. Epic similes, figures of speech, classical allusions and references, and repetitions are used. The characters are given set speeches. The narration usually begins with an invocation to the muse or a guiding Spirit. Both ‘Aenid’ and Paradise Lost begin with such invocations. Usually, the narrative starts in the middle of the story as in Paradise Lost which begins with the fallen angels gathering their Forces for revenge. Only later does Milton tell tells us what happened before the Fall.
- The Epic is usually divided into twelve books through Iliad and Odyssey have 24 books each. Spencer’s fairy Queen was planned in 12 book’s and Milton’s Paradise Lost also has 12 books.
Some of the famous Epics:
- Milton’s “Paradise Lost”
- Spenser’s “Faerie Queen”
- Arnold’s “Sohrab and Rustom”
- “Hyperion” by Keats
- The Epic of Gilgamesh
- The Homeric Poems – The Odyssey
- The Mahabharata
- Virgil – The Aeneid The Aeneid
- Ovid – Metamorphoses
- Firdawsi – The Shahnameh